Here we go

With a nod to Bruce Buffer, We Are Live! The campaigns for the President and Legislature are heating up and we will be here from now until after the elections on January 14th 2012. We have a line-up of the best and brightest Taiwan Hands, including academics from across the social sciences and humanities, your favourite Taiwan bloggers and hopefully some candidates standing for election. We will feature comprehensive analysis of Taiwanese politics from a variety of perspectives and spanning the political spectrum.

What can you expect to see on the blog? In addition to posts from our esteemed guests, we will provide regular summaries and links of the best (and worst) coverage from various western and Taiwanese media, coverage of the parties and candidates’ activities on the campaign trail, in addition to scholarly analysis of this and previous campaigns and Taiwanese politics more generally. We will also compile a range of resources for following the elections and try to bring out some of the flavour of the campaigns with our correspondents on the ground in Taiwan.

In short, if it is relevant to the 2012 elections there’s a good chance you will find it here.

As followers of Taiwanese political coverage know, every election in Taiwan seems crucial (somehow putting me in mind of this. Warning: British humour). And you know that someone somewhere is writing a piece that starts “a little more than seventy days from now, Taiwanese will head to the polls in an election that could decide the course of Taiwan’s future, relations with China and prospects for peace in the Asia Pacific etc.” We will try to avoid the common hyperbole and solecisms that blight a lot of coverage of Taiwanese elections. We will instead attempt to address, with a greater degree of nuance, the important questions that the first joint presidential and legislative elections throw up.

What do voters make of Ma’s “détente” with China? Having lost his lustre and sunk to George W. Bush level approval ratings, will his ideas to fix the economy (and incumbency advantage) be enough to get him re-elected? Who is Tsai Ing-wen and if she wins will it mean a return to the “bad old days” of the Chen Shui-bian era? Can a resurgent DPP offer a strong enough alternative to make Tsai competitive? Will James Soong put a spanner in the KMT’s works (again)? Will the KMT continue its stronghold on the legislature? What effect will holding parallel elections for the first time have on turnout and vote choice?

This blog will address these and many other questions in the two and a bit months leading up to the elections. We welcome guest contributions from all points of view—contact me at discuss ideas. You can also follow me on Twitter @jonlsullivan for comments and links that don’t make it to the blog or access my published and working papers at

Finally, we hope you’ll enjoy our coverage and might even find it useful.